Letter: Ruling actually protects our freedom of religion
I am writing concerning the Rowan County Commission case on prayer. I am not in favor of denying anyone the right to pray. There is, however, confusion in regards to this issue. For example, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, is quoted as saying, “I encourage Rowan County to take this matter to the Supreme Court. I will continue to stand with them to protect religious liberty and defend our right to pray” (Sunday, July 16, 2017, Salisbury Post).
The case in question is not about anyone’s right to pray. Anyone can pray anytime and anywhere. Saying that they need to defend their right to pray is confusing the right to pray with the violation of separation of church and state, a distinctly different issue. The issue here is whether the government has the right to lead prayers that are specifically and only Christian in a public forum. To do so is tantamount to proselytizing at worst, and mildly coercive at best. The ruling in this case actually protects religious liberty.
Consider: you are the only Christian at a public event where 99 percent are Islamic. Prayer or worship is conducted by a government official. You abstain because you do not subscribe to their doctrine. You stand out like a sore thumb. Many at the service look upon you with disdain. You are not required to partake, yet the damage is done. This is the issue this case is about.
When the government restricts the exercising of any religious activity to a single religion, it is promoting that religion above all others. This is the exact opposite of religious liberty.
Instead of appealing the ruling, the defendants should be applauding it as the court upholding our most cherished religious freedom — the freedom to worship as one sees fit, be it Christian, Islamic, Jewish or whatever!
— Orland Carra